Gennaro Gattuso was happy to finish the season in 6th place but refused to take credit and claimed that Milan will be in the summer market for a winger and midfielder who have experience but don’t have to be over 30 years of age.
Milan ended the season in the best way possible, as they smashed Fiorentina 5-1 on Sunday evening to finish the campaign in 6th place and secure a place in next season’s Europa League group stage.
From the first minute it was clear that Milan came ready and hungry, but it was the Viola who got on the scoresheet first as against the run of play, they managed to get the ball to Giovanni Simeone who beat Donnarumma after 20 minutes.
The Rossoneri, however, got back in the game very quickly as in the 23′ minute, Hakan Çalhanoğlu (finally) scored from a free kick, equalizing the match. The Turkish was on absolute fire yesterday and in the 41′ minute he assisted Patrick Cutrone’s goal, which overturned the result.
Four minutes into the second half, Çalhanoğlu and Cutrone were again at the heart of things and Hakan’s cross found the head of Patrick, who couldn’t beat the goalkeeper; but Nikola Kalinić was in the right place to take advantage of the rebound ball and scored against his former side. In the 59′ minute, Çalhanoğlu found Cutrone in the box again and the 20-year-old scored his 10th seasonal Serie A goal. In the 76′ minute, Hakan gave the ball to Jack Bonaventura and the former Atalanta man made an incredible run which ended in a goal. Milan could’ve scored more but it ended 5-1.
The boys of Gennaro Gattuso finished a very complicated season on a high and now preparations can begin as next year the goal will be to return to the Champions League.
“I have to thank this group, there were very difficult moments, but I found guys that gave me a great sense of belonging,” Gattuso told Sky Italia after the final whistle of referee Michael Fabbri. “I was a pain in the neck for 5 months, but nobody failed to give respect, this was my fortunate. We proposed things but without the commitment it would’ve been useless. I have to say thanks to them.
“What is missing for the Champions League? We must learn to play with physicality, we’re lacking a bit of malice, a bit of experience… it doesn’t have to be players aged 30 [that will arrive in the summer], but young players that have many games on their shoulders. The backbone of the team is there, we have to reinforce it, also with what we can do with the players that we have.
“My work as a coach? I started 4-5 years ago, the road is still long, I have a lot to learn but I have passion and when it’s there then it only takes luck and work.”
Speaking in the post-match presser, Rino said: “Next season? We’ll start again from the enthusiasm and the good things we did this year. We’ll start again from the bedrocks. In both the previous management [of Montella], but I’ll speak about mine, there were some moments which weren’t easy.
“It’s also my merit and that of my staff, but it’s especially the merit of the players, who have always respected and accepted what we proposed. The merits are 90% of the boys. Someone could’ve invented any excuse to give up and instead it didn’t happen.
“What vote would I give myself? It’s hard to say, I’ve got some beatings in these 5 years [of Gattuso’s coaching career] and did just a little something good. The experience of the 5 months with the Primavera served me. We started with many difficulties, with 8 goals conceded in the first two matches. If I’d give myself a 7? I’d be satisfied with 6.5, I never got it at school…
“Kessié was a bit tired? This was his 52th match if I’m not mistaken, it’s normal to be tired. We don’t have any alternative. Surely, we need another midfielder to give us a hand and another winger with the characteristics of Çalhanoğlu and Suso, players to rotate the group. If I speak of experience, then we also talk of 24-25-year-olds with 200 games, we don’t necessarily need players who are over 30, we are not in the Champions League, we need players of perspective but not necessarily 30-year-olds.
“Cutrone finished the season in double figures? He knows what I think about him and what I want from him. He has great room for improvement and in the last two months he’s made me less angry. I also want to stress the performance of Kalinić, he played the last two games like a true player.
“Çalhanoğlu [who was the Man of the Match]? I like him more and more. He’s an atypical number 10, he plays with the knife between his teeth. I don’t know if I taught him but I’m excited to play him. He has large margins for improvements. We hope that he won’t think he’s Brad Pitt and that he’ll have the desire that he had in these months. He must not forget where he started, I found a boy with great difficult on the physical and psychological levels. I didn’t invent him, I re-found him.”
Gattuso also had an interview with MilanTV: “I don’t want to take any credit. Actually, I would like to thank those who brought me here because, for the way I started my career, this is incredible. Mirabelli changed my life, my world, those months I coached the Primavera were very important and opened a new world to me. I won’t take a break now. I need to start planning next season. Earlier on Sunday, I met Fassone and Mirabelli. We have little things to do but we need to do them right.
“Çalhanoğlu’s? He must not forget the first day he came into my office, he was on the ground in every sense. In moments in which he thinks he is the best in the world, he must not forget those times. It takes to continue working, because you can see that with work there are these results.
“Primavera players? The Primavera squad has improved a lot, if I look at [Frank] Tsadjout now and I think about how he was 10 months ago, he seems like a different person. But everyone else, like [Raoul] Bellanova, Tiago Dias, [Marco] Brescianini and all the others are grown up, then you have to put them in a position and let them get into the rhythms of the first team.
“When you wear a Milan shirt, you have to understand what you’re wearing. Milan, along with Real Madrid, has an incredible charm in the world and we must not forget it. Those who wear this shirt must remember it and sweat Now we have interesting youngsters, we hope to strengthen because this shirt has written the history. And I always say to my players, because I really think that: when you face your opponents, they must be envious of us because we are Milan.”
Gattuso, who always had a concerned look on his face during the matches, can now finally rest and start thinking about the future of his Milan. He’ll be able to work calmly, with no EL preliminaries.